Spain set to stifle in first official heatwave of the summer 

Spain set to stifle in first official heatwave of the summer 
Most of mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands will experience temperatures in the high 30s and low and mid 40s. Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP, Aemet
Spain’s national weather agency has warned that a period of extreme and prolonged heat is set to reach the country on Wednesday, bringing with it temperatures above 35C to most regions and very little wind. 

“Mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands are facing a probable heatwave, with very high temperatures ​​during the day and at night, which will begin in a general and progressive way by Wednesday August 11th and will last at least until Monday 16th or Tuesday 17th,” Aemet spokesperson Rubén Campo said on Monday. 

“This could lead to adverse effects on people’s health and to a significant risk of forest fires.”

Temperatures are expected to exceed 40C in some areas of central and southern Spain by Wednesday, with values above 35C in the surrounding area and in the Balearic Islands.  

On Thursday August 12th, daytime temperatures are expected to rise above 40C across all of central and southern Spain, and nighttime minimums will be higher than 22C. 

By the weekend, temperatures will also be in the mid to high thirties in parts of the Basque Country, Castilla and León, Catalonia and Aragón. 

Map displaying temperatures across Spain on Saturday August 14th, according to Aemet’s forecast. 

Galicia, the Canary Islands as well as parts of Asturias and Cantabria are the only places that aren’t forecast to be affected by the extreme heat, although the high temperatures could reach the archipelago by the weekend. 

Even though there have been periods of extreme heat this summer, in order for it to be classified as a heatwave by Aemet, three conditions must be met: the weather episode of high temperatures has to be intense, it has to affect most of Spain and it has to be long-lasting.

The cause of Spain’s first heatwave of the year is a mass of hot air that’s approaching from North Africa and the central Mediterranean which will stabilise the atmosphere, resulting in intense sun and no wind to clear the warm air.

The extreme heat episode will be accompanied by very low relative humidity during the day and night. 

There will also be dust in suspension blown over from the Sahara desert – known as calima in Spain – which will contribute to the sensation that the air is extremely dry and suffocating. 

As this year has been very dry due to the lack of rainfall the risk of forest fires will increase during this heatwave, as the following map by Aemet illustrates.


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